Are Volunteer Firefighters paid for their services?
The initial answer is NO. The word Volunteer means giving your time freely, however there are a few departments in the state that offer their firefighters a stipend for each response they make, to assist with expenses. You will need to check with the department in your area to see if they offer these types of benefits.
Do I need prior experience in order to join?
Again, the initial answer is NO, the department will give you the training that is needed. If you happen to have some previous experience this will only benefit the department and yourself even more. However, remember the talents you already have may be very valuable to the department.
Do I have to purchase lights and sirens?
No. Lights and sirens are not a requirement to respond to emergencies. Thousands of firefighters respond without lights and sirens. Most departments do not supply lights and sirens, and many departments even have special rules about their use. Be sure to check with the department you are volunteering with before considering this type of purchase.
Do I have to pay for training?
No. In the state of Arkansas, all training for volunteer firefighters is free of charge from the Arkansas Fire Training Academy. Most departments also have their own training program within their departments.
What if there's a fire while I'm at work?
We are all volunteers and understand that your job must come first. Supporting your family is a must, and that is completely understood. Talk with the Fire Chief at the department you are volunteering with. Share your schedule and let them know when you are available.
What if I get hurt on a fire scene?
In the state of Arkansas, all departments are required to have Workers Compensation for volunteer firefighters. This is meant to help with medical bills in the event you are hurt. Some departments also have additional insurance to financial assist with lost time from work. Check with your department to see if this additional insurance is made available. Please keep in mind, all training must be kept up to date in order to be covered with Workers Compensation.
Does using lights and sirens let me run red lights, or speed?
Absolutely not! If the use of lights and sirens are allowed in the department you are volunteering with, you must personally become aware of the laws that govern their use. Using lights and sirens is a courtesy way of requesting the right of way from other drivers. You are only requesting the right of way.
Who pays for my equipment?
The Fire Department is responsible to supply the equipment needed for your safety. This equipment will only be assigned to you after you have been appropriately trained to utilize the equipment.
Do I get to drive a fire truck?
Each department will have their own requirements for driving an apparatus and the training that is required. Check with your department to see how they certify each driver and the training that is required.
What kind of initial training is required?
All new volunteers are required to take three initial classes within the first year.
Other training requirements may be identified by each department with specific timelines. Check with the department where you will be volunteering.